18 votes

If the US removed FPTP and the electoral college, what new parties would pop up?

Tags: ask, politics, usa

(You could replace FPTP with STV to keep the districts that elect representatives in the house intact.)

I'll start.

The Democratic party breaks up into the neoliberal and progressive parties.

The neoliberal party is where centrist candidates like Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg go.

The progressive party is where progressive candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren go.

The Republican party might lose a large part of their electorate to the libertarians, since many Republicans are more concerned about letting business prevail and don't really want cultural conservatism.

Andrew yang maybe also leaves the Democrats and founds his own party, the party for online reform.

The greens also become significantly more popular but they may have too much in common with the progressives.

The Senate could be changed to include as many seats as the house for proper representation.

18 comments

  1. [2]
    patience_limited
    Link
    From what I've seen of multi-party politics around the world, you still effectively have "conservative" and "progressive" coalitions, however numerous the parties. There are lunatic/fanatic fringe...

    From what I've seen of multi-party politics around the world, you still effectively have "conservative" and "progressive" coalitions, however numerous the parties. There are lunatic/fanatic fringe parties totaling about 10% of the electorate's seats, that function as tie-breakers. If anything, this situation adds to democratic instability and encourages formation of durable bureaucratic states that function more or less independently of popular will.

    All that being said, I expect the U.S. might break down as follows:

    • Left State Separatists: 1 - 3% (usually progressive, seek to separate from more conservative nation)
    • Social Democrats: 15% (progressive both socially and economically)
    • Green: 3 - 5% (environmental sustainability and restoration are paramount, otherwise progressive)
    • Christian Democrat: 15% (religious left - socially conservative, economically progressive)
    • Liberal Democrat: 5% (socially progressive, billionaire friendly)
    • Liberal Republican: 15% (socially progressive or unconcerned, economically conservative)
    • Christian Republican: 20% (socially conservative, economically all over the place)
    • Dominionists: 5% (Christian, white supremacists with militarily aggressive, authoritarian nationalist leanings)
    • Patriots: 3 - 5% (anti-government, 2A supporters not otherwise part of a religious movement, often state or regional separatists)
    • Libertarians: 3 - 5% (anti-government, primarily pro-business)

    So there's plenty of room for coalition building - Liberals at 20%, Christians at 35% are the most likely, which looks a lot like Germany. Social Democrats are out in the cold unless they can caucus with Liberal or Christian Democrats; nationalists have to cobble something together in peculiar ways that require a great deal of lying.

    Truthfully, the results may not look a great deal different than current "big tent" two-party politics, but at least the entire electorate might turn out to vote.

    17 votes
    1. Kuromantis
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I agree. Maybe throw in a Internet regulation/privacy party for optimism and people like us and a pro-big tech party or Internet-based alt right party (for people who like Steven crowder, PragerU...
      • Left State Separatists: 1 - 3% (usually progressive, seek to separate from more conservative nation)

      • Social Democrats: 15% (progressive both socially and economically)

      • Green: 3 - 5% (environmental sustainability and restoration are paramount, otherwise progressive)

      • Christian Democrat: 15% (religious left - socially conservative, economically progressive)

      • Liberal Democrat: 5% (socially progressive, billionaire friendly)

      • Liberal Republican: 15% (socially progressive or unconcerned, economically conservative)
        Christian Republican: 20% (socially conservative, economically all over the place)

      • Dominionists: 5% (Christian, white supremacists with militarily aggressive, authoritarian nationalist leanings)

      • Patriots: 3 - 5% (anti-government, 2A supporters not otherwise part of a religious movement, often state or regional separatists)

      • Libertarians: 3 - 5% (anti-government, primarily pro-business

      I agree. Maybe throw in a Internet regulation/privacy party for optimism and people like us and a pro-big tech party or Internet-based alt right party (for people who like Steven crowder, PragerU or 8chan) for equal pessimism (or far more likely, a black and Latino party both form, the former being probably centrist and the latter leaning liberal culturally but still being strongly Christian and both leaning liberal economically due to economic hardship)

      5 votes
  2. [14]
    Silbern
    Link
    I think we'd see a more restrained number of parties tbh - I would expect to see the Green party become the party of progressives and activists, the moderate slice of the Democratic party to...

    I think we'd see a more restrained number of parties tbh - I would expect to see the Green party become the party of progressives and activists, the moderate slice of the Democratic party to become a party focused on the working class and centrists, the Libertarian party to be for Libertarians, and then the conservatives / far-right to band together into their own 4th party. I don't think there's all that much more room in our spectrum.

    Truth be told though, I'm rather nervous of the circumstances that would lead to such a dramatic change in the country's foundation. For all my gripes about the current state of affairs, those kinds of changes usually come during revolutions, and I sure as hell wouldn't want to see that happen to the US.

    The Senate could be changed to include as many seats as the house for proper representation.

    Why not just get rid of it entirely though? The whole point of the Senate, the foundational reason why it exists, was as a result of the compromise between small states and big states; while larger states got proportional representation in the House of Representatives, small states got equal footing in the Senate. If the entire purpose of the Senate's existence, to favor little states, is gone, I don't see why we would even need it anymore.

    6 votes
    1. [10]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      We Aussies changed our voting method in 1918, from first-past-the-post to preferential. The first use of preferential voting was in a colonial election in 1892. After its adoption at the federal...

      For all my gripes about the current state of affairs, those kinds of changes usually come during revolutions,

      We Aussies changed our voting method in 1918, from first-past-the-post to preferential. The first use of preferential voting was in a colonial election in 1892. After its adoption at the federal level in 1918, it gradually spread through all the other states and territories. And we didn't have a revolution to do it.

      We have also repeatedly tweaked the voting method for our Senate. We changed it yet again just a couple of elections ago.

      It's possible to change voting methods without a revolution.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        patience_limited
        Link Parent
        But you've got a parliamentary system with multi-party proportional representation in your Constitution. In the U.S., vote tallying methods are left up to the states by Constitutional mandate....

        But you've got a parliamentary system with multi-party proportional representation in your Constitution.

        In the U.S., vote tallying methods are left up to the states by Constitutional mandate. There's no reason we couldn't switch to STV or an equivalent method, as long as everyone (in theory) gets to vote, but there's no guarantee of uniformity or adoption. State laws can be amended without popular consent, for the most part. I can see certain states using whichever method is most easily gamed to preserve the current dominant party in power (see also, gerrymandering).

        Removing the Electoral College requires a Constitutional amendment, or a revolution, whichever comes first. It's very difficult to pass Constitutional amendments - equal rights for women has been floating around for a half-century.

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          My point is that everything you're referring to can be achieved without the revolution that @Silbern is worried about. You even agree: state laws about voting can be changed by state governments,...

          My point is that everything you're referring to can be achieved without the revolution that @Silbern is worried about. You even agree: state laws about voting can be changed by state governments, and changing the Electoral College can be changed by amendment. You don't need a revolution to achieve these things.

          It's also hard to pass constitutional amendments in Australia. This requires a referendum, and only 8 of 44 referendums have achieved a "yes" vote. But those 8 changes happened without a revolution.

          I'm not saying it's easy to make these changes to voting. That's not my point. I agree with your cynicism in this regard (the introduction of preferential voting at the federal level here was a tactic intended to keep an opposition party out of power). I was only responding to @Silbern's statement that voting changes usually come during a revolution - which has not been true of Australia (nor England, which has changed its voting laws many times in the past couple of centuries).

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            patience_limited
            Link Parent
            The United States has some unpleasant history to overcome where democratising the franchise is concerned. Technically, a civil war and mass riots that burned down cities don't constitute...

            The United States has some unpleasant history to overcome where democratising the franchise is concerned. Technically, a civil war and mass riots that burned down cities don't constitute revolutions, but those events preceded meaningful change in both citizenship rights and voting access for millions.

            I don't mean to be dismissive of your point, and I'm categorically opposed to violence as a means of achieving political ends. I'm just saying that there's reason to believe @Silbern's fear is justified; some changes are achievable through lawful, non-violent means, but some may not be.

            4 votes
            1. Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              Okay. So you're implying that it would take a revolution to change the USA's voting system. Maybe it would. But that's different to @Silbern's statement that "those kinds of changes usually come...

              Okay. So you're implying that it would take a revolution to change the USA's voting system. Maybe it would.

              But that's different to @Silbern's statement that "those kinds of changes usually come during revolutions".

              3 votes
      2. [5]
        Silbern
        Link Parent
        Sure, but in Australia, the constitution can apparently be altered by a simple majority vote among a public referendum (albeit with some restrictions like needing majority approval in a majority...

        Sure, but in Australia, the constitution can apparently be altered by a simple majority vote among a public referendum (albeit with some restrictions like needing majority approval in a majority of states). In the US, the Constitution can only be altered by passing both houses of Congress with 2/3 majority, and then being adopted in 3/4 of all the states. That's a way higher threshold to meet. On top of that, the constitutional amendments need to be adopted by the state legislature, not by popular vote; and in US states that are currently dominated by one party, such as Wyoming or my own Hawaii, there's no way the state legislature would ever vote for such an amendment because it would fracture and split apart their overwhelming majorities. I don't have much knowledge about the Australia's history with voting, but from what I've been able to find so far, I'm rather skeptical that Australia's situation could be repeated here - at least, in a timeframe that would be politically relevant to us today.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          patience_limited
          Link Parent
          There's another permitted method, the constitutional convention, but it's dangerous as hell and more likely to cause a revolution than avert one.

          There's another permitted method, the constitutional convention, but it's dangerous as hell and more likely to cause a revolution than avert one.

          2 votes
          1. Chinpokomon
            Link Parent
            I think we're in need of one. There are plenty of spanners that are going to arrest any advancement of much needed change. I think it's becoming less of a question about if we should, and more...

            I think we're in need of one. There are plenty of spanners that are going to arrest any advancement of much needed change. I think it's becoming less of a question about if we should, and more about when.

            2 votes
        2. alphamule
          Link Parent
          You don't need to change the constitution to get rid of FPTP as it is not mandated in the constitution. It can be changed on a state-by-state basis and would probably actually be harder to change...

          You don't need to change the constitution to get rid of FPTP as it is not mandated in the constitution. It can be changed on a state-by-state basis and would probably actually be harder to change at a national level, as there would be lawsuits demanding that this be a state's right to determine.

          The reason you won't see this in the US is because it does not behoove the two entrenched parties (nor their funders) to see this happen, not because of any actual legal reason.

          2 votes
        3. Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          Having a high threshold to pass voting changes isn't the same as "those kinds of changes usually come during revolutions". Yes, it would be difficult to change the USA's voting system. But it...

          Having a high threshold to pass voting changes isn't the same as "those kinds of changes usually come during revolutions". Yes, it would be difficult to change the USA's voting system. But it wouldn't necessarily require a revolution if enough people were in favour of it, such that a number of state governments feared they would lose power if they didn't pass the change the people wanted.

    2. Litmus2336
      Link Parent
      The Senate has longer tenure. The idea is that they would not need to permenantly campaign, and the senate would not be so quickly swayed by populism.

      The Senate has longer tenure. The idea is that they would not need to permenantly campaign, and the senate would not be so quickly swayed by populism.

      1 vote
    3. [2]
      patience_limited
      Link Parent
      It's been a long time since I've read The Federalist Papers, but the Senate was supposed to be another means of balancing centralized federal power against sovereign states, not just larger states...

      It's been a long time since I've read The Federalist Papers, but the Senate was supposed to be another means of balancing centralized federal power against sovereign states, not just larger states against lesser ones. It was also meant to include a conservative flywheel to ensure that representative populism wouldn't go unchecked.

      I'm not sure that James Madison's theory envisioned the current complexity of governance and the utter stagnation the system could create. There are bicameral legislatures in about half of the world's nominal democracies, but the power and representation of regional polities varies greatly. Unicameral legislatures are generally in either small nations, or managed democracies like China and Turkey.

      1 vote
      1. Chinpokomon
        Link Parent
        When Senators weren't elected and operated more autonomously, I think that was a significant part of that conservative flywheel. Senators didn't answer to a poll of their constituents and didn't...

        When Senators weren't elected and operated more autonomously, I think that was a significant part of that conservative flywheel. Senators didn't answer to a poll of their constituents and didn't have the lobbyist pressures of today. I believe the system today is nothing like James Madison conceived.

        2 votes
  3. [2]
    Diet_Coke
    Link
    One feature of this type of system would be single issue parties. Basically they would try to join whatever coalition and as long as that coalition supported their issue, the single issue party...

    One feature of this type of system would be single issue parties. Basically they would try to join whatever coalition and as long as that coalition supported their issue, the single issue party would vote with them. I think you'd see both pro and anti choice parties, pro and anti gun parties, and a privacy party. You might also see some joke parties like they have in the UK.

    2 votes
    1. patience_limited
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      People tend to forget that the U.S. already has more than two parties. As this 2016 Presidential election candidate list illustrates, there are many more. The less well-known ones are often single...

      People tend to forget that the U.S. already has more than two parties.

      As this 2016 Presidential election candidate list illustrates, there are many more. The less well-known ones are often single issue, e.g. the Prohibition Party, which is the longest existing third party in the U.S. (and still banging the drum to ban alcohol).

      Democratic Socialists of America is not new, though they'd been mainly a left faction in Democratic Party politics before breaking out in the student debt campaign that underpinned 2016 Bernie Sanders' candidacy.

      But the institutional advantages the long-standing dominant parties have given themselves are very difficult to overcome. Further, voters are mostly rational actors who won't vote for candidates that lack experience (existing D or R insiders) or significant advantages (lots of money and/or an ideologically appealing, plausible platform).

      Even well-funded outsiders who can afford to get on the ballot in all states rarely exceed 1% of the vote. Of that long list of 2016 candidates, only the Libertarian and Green Parties made the ballot in a majority of states, polling at 3% and 1% respectively in the general election.

      It's the nature of U.S. politics that many of these small parties are very far left or right (including some hate groups). It takes ironclad ideological conviction, in the absence of large amounts of money, to sustain these campaigns.

      2 votes